Independent Youth Housing Program

Independent Youth Housing Program provides rental assistance, related housing costs, and case management to young adults, ages 18-24, who have been a dependent of the state or federally recognized tribal foster care system prior to age 18. Eligibility requires the young adult does not exceed the very low income limits for their county.

  • Young adults may remain in the program while earning more than the income limits if they participate in a supervised saving plan.
  • Extended Foster Care stipends are counted as income.
  • Priority is given to young adults who have been dependents of the state or tribe for at least one year.

The Department of Commerce’s Office of Homeless Youth (OHY) contracts with local community-based agencies to provide a variety of services to youth and young adults, including outreach services, emergency shelter, and other housing assistance through the Young Adult Housing Program or Rapid Re-Housing. See a full list of OHY Providers for programs available in your area.

Who is administering this program?

This program is administered by the Department of Commerce. See a full list of OHY Providers for programs available in your area.

What are the program goals?

  • To make sure that all youth aging out of the foster care system in Washington State have access to a SAFE and AFFORDABLE place to live so that they will not experience homelessness
  • Help prepare foster youth to become independent and self-sufficient so that over time they will be less dependent on state assistance.

Who is eligible?

Foster youth who on or after September 1, 2006 meet the following criteria:

  • 18 years of age or older
  • Was a dependent of the state of Washington under Chapter 13.34 RCW within four months before the youth’s 18th birthday
  • Have not yet reached the age of 23
  • Is a Washington resident

Priority will be given to youth who were dependents of the state for at least one year.

Youth participating in Extended Foster Care are eligible for this housing program as they are still considered under the care and authority of DCYF.  Youth can be eligible once they exit Extended Foster Care.

What services are offered?

Youth may receive the following services:

  • Monthly rent
  • Utility payments (gas and electricity)
  • Move in costs (such as first and last month’s rent, security deposits)
  • Cost for credit checks
  • Cost for parking (if not included in rent and one is needed)

What is necessary to enroll in this program?

Youth must:

  • Accept and participate in case management
  • Verify their sources of income
  • Work on Independent Living goals
  • Contribute part of their income to help pay for rent (up to 30%). Minimum amount paid toward rent will be one dollar.
  • Participate in an Individual Development Account or other savings plan (if income exceeds 50% of median income)

Do you have questions?

Contact Greg Williamson at

Office of Homeless Youth Protection and Prevention